Final county election results await end of litigation

Staff writer

A legal challenge has prevented Clarion County from certifying the results of the general election but that hasn’t stopped several conspiracy theories.

“We should be certified soon but we have been told by our attorneys to hold off on that until the issue of the late ballots has been resolved,” said Clarion County Commissioner Wayne Brosius. “Those ballots are segregated until we can get an answer.”

There have been many questions regarding the county’s use of equipment from Dominion Voting Systems Corporation. Conspiracy theories have targeted Dominion for allegedly tampering with the election results.

One theory involved the use of Sharpie brand markers.

“We have received a number of calls from people asking if their vote counted,” said Brosius. “They had used Sharpies to vote and they heard that if you used Sharpies that it didn’t work on the ballot. There was something floating around out there on social media about that.

“I think it derived from Arizona where, supposedly, there was a problem. I don’t even know if that was factual.”

Brosius said the county was certified to use the Sharpies.

“Dominion said that would be the best tool to use and it was certified by the state,” said Brosius. “We made a big investment in buying Sharpies for every precinct. All 40 precincts had them on hand on Election Day.

“People were concerned about their votes being counted. My main response is to tell them to look at the number of votes that were counted in Clarion County. We had over 19,000 votes counted in the county out of 24,000 registered voters. Our turnout was 80 percent, which I think was an all-time record. Forty years ago is was about 75 percent.”

Another theory is that votes were switched. In Clarion County, over 14,000 people voted for Trump, over 4,500 for Biden and a few hundred for the third party candidate.

“Speaking for Clarion County only, it was about 75 percent in favor of Trump so I don’t see how votes could have been switched,” he said.

“There were minor problems with the election usually human error,” Brosius explained. “In the Clarion Borough the Dominion rep had to go out and change the cards in two precincts because they had been switched. There was a Dominion rep here all day.”

The county leases 42 voting machines from Dominion. Dominion sells electronic voting hardware and software in the U.S. and Canada. The company’s international headquarters are in Toronto, Canada, and its U.S. headquarters are in Denver, Col. As of September 2019, Dominion voting machines are used in 2,000 jurisdictions in 33 U.S. states and Puerto Rico.

Prior to the county choosing to use the Dominion voting system, the state had given the counties a list of approved vendors.

In the immediate area Clarion, Jefferson and Armstrong counties chose Dominion.

“Trump won big in all of those counties,” said Brosius. “Some callers have even asked ‘How did I vote?’ because they wanted to know if we counted their vote. We can’t tell them that. It is a secret ballot. We can’t tell you that.”

Brosius added, “We are real proud of our poll workers and how they held up through a long and very busy day. There was a lot of pressure because there was a lot of suspicion in this election.”